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Create a System to Write Recruiting Messages FasterMonday, February 8th, 2016


by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

As College coaches, we write a lot.  We write to juniors and seniors we are recruiting or have already committed, we write to parents, or we are writing to youth coaches who have players we want. 
 
If you just sit down and try to come up with a brilliant message that will get opened, read, and returned, you may find yourself wasting a lot of time staring at a blank screen as you try to figure out what to write. 
 
Also, if you don’t have a lot of experience writing recruiting messages or are not a very good writer, it can feel incredibly time-consuming.  But more importantly, if you don’t have a strategy or workflow, I have found it takes even longer. So what I want to do today is to share what I learned from Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.”
 
Michal Hyatt uses a 10 step process to write his blog posts quicker. I highly encourage you to try when you have to send out your next batch of recruiting emails. I know that it will help to speed up the recruiting writing process.

  1. Start writing the night before.  Come up with what you want to write about and then rough out the details. The idea is to just get the process started and then let it simmer in the background of your thinking as it sits in your subconscious  I’ve found that helps me so much. If I just sit down and try to write, I sometimes end up just being stumped, looking at a blank screen not knowing what to write about.
  2. Use your downtime to think. I want you to think about when you get your best ideas. Usually our best ideas happen when we’re relaxed. That’s why a lot of good ideas come to you in the shower and other places. By starting your recruiting message the night before, in your downtime until you actually write the email, you can purposefully be thinking about the next set of messages that you could send out.
  3. When it is time to actually write your recruiting messages, go offline. Put yourself in a distraction-free environment where your phone and email notifications are turned off.The thing that kills writing recruiting emails and turns a 30-minute process into a 7-hour process is when you’re allowing yourself to be bombarded by social media and other kinds of interruptions.
  4. Turn on some music to get into a creative mindset.  What kind of music will get you focused and creative?
  5. Give yourself a time limit and then set a timer. I have found this helps a lot to create more urgency and helps to keep me focused on the work at hand.
  6. Use a template. Writing recruiting emails can go a lot faster when you have a premade writing template that you are following.  By following a certain skeletal structure I’m not having to create that from scratch every time or having to guess what the flow of the email I am creating is going to be. For great ideas on what should go into your template, go to www.dantudor.com.
  7. Write without editing. Coaches can get stuck and it really slows them down if they’re editing as they go. Try to just write without interruption as fast as you can and just try to get it all out.
  8. Then go back and edit.
    1. Look to eliminate redundancy
    2. Try to eliminate complex sentences and make them simpler and more straightforward.
    3. Ask yourself if there is an easier or simpler way to say that or a simpler word to use?
  9. Add the pictures or links. We try to put in a lot of links to get recruits to keep going back to our website.  Or sometimes we use a lot of pictures to paint a picture of what it would be like to attend our school.
  10. Send to a colleague to preview. There are things they might pick up that you wouldn’t pick up otherwise.

Now, these 10 steps may work great for you.  If not, hopefully at least I have you thinking about how you could tweak this to find a formula or process that would work for you.  I think the important thing is that if you can define a process for yourself, no matter what that is, and then spend the next several weeks optimizing that so you know exactly what the steps are, it’ll be much faster for you to get in the groove and be productive with writing.
 
My hope in giving you this process as well is that it will take a little bit of the stress out of writing recruiting letters for you, because it can be very stressful. And when we get stressed about it, we actually end up procrastinating or putting it off, and then those consistent recruiting messages we are supposed to be sending never happen.
 
So no matter what kind of writer you are, come up with a system. It doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from the system from time to time. I do. But at least you have a track to get you started and a way to get your recruiting messages out that works for you 90% of the time.

Hope you have a productive rest of the week! 

Mandy Green

P.S. – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What do you do to make time for recruiting? Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com. If you want more tips about how to save time with recruiting, go to my website at www.mandygreencps.com.  

P.P.S.  If you have found this article helpful, please share it with your staff or other work colleagues!  Studying time and energy management over these last 4 years and applying it to my coaching and recruiting has been a game changer for me.  I am committed to helping coaches get more important work done in less time so more time can be spent with family and friends.  Thanks!

Save Time and Mental Energy With Tracking FormsMonday, February 1st, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

A common time management mistake is to try to use your memory to keep track of all of the tasks you need to accomplish.  I don’t care how good you think your memory is: the fact is that most people simple cannot rely on their memory alone to keep track of everything that needs to get done.  

Below is one of the many simple tracking forms that I created to help me keep track of some of the repetitive things that I need to keep track of as a coach.  

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I use the USD Player Tracking Form to make sure that I am consistently keeping in touch with everybody on my team over the summer.  I look at it on Sunday night and decide who I will contact and when I will do it.  Then I schedule it into my Coaching Productivity Day Planner.  First thing in the morning when I am doing my strategic planning, I relook at the list to see who I am contacting and I make sure I don’t need to add anybody. 

Instead of wasting brain power having to try to remember who I have or haven’t been in touch with, this sheet shows me who I have been in contact with, when I contacted them, and what type of communication was used.  Instead of wasting time trying to remember, this sheet allows me to make quick decisions about who I should contact, take decisive action and fire off a quick text, email, or phone call.  Then I record it.  Done.  Now I don’t have to remember or think about this for the rest of the day.  Love it.      

These types of forms are great because:
1. They are simple and easy to fill out.
2. They give you a way to keep track of a lot of information.
3. They give you a visual picture of what you have and haven’t done. 
4. I don’t waste a lot of time having to try to remember who I need to get in contact with.  It is all on paper (or on the computer for some things).
5. You can track your results. 

Here are some of the other ways that I have used this type of form.
1. I use this form to keep track of my top recruits to make sure that I am consistently keeping in touch with them.  I have a different form that I have created where I have different symbols that I use if I sent an email, made a phone call, had a campus visit, contacted the parents, contacted youth coaches, etc.   
2. I use a different sheet that looks like this for tracking my daily goal actions. 
3. I use this during the year with my team to make sure I am consistently having individual conversations with them.
4. I have taught my players to use this sheet to track their goals and for tracking their study habits before tests. 
5. I have  also used this form to keep track of how many times at practice I worked on certain concepts during the year. 

I will then use these tracking forms to reflect on any successes or failures that I might have had throughout the year.  To use the player tracking form as an example, based on where my player relationships are at when my players show up this fall, I can look back to see how much I was in touch with them over the summer to see if it was enough, too little, or maybe even too much communication.  Then I can use those results to tweak my actions to make sure I am doing it better next time around.   

These forms are extremely simple but have been invaluable for me.  I am saving a lot of time and brain power that I can now use on other things that I can be doing to progress my program forward.  

I’d love to hear if you have other ways to use a form like this.  Please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.  If you want to see the forms that I have created, just email me and I will send them to you. 

Have a great week.

Mandy Green
Coaching Productivity Strategies
 http://www.mandygreencps.com

Reduce Think Time With ChecklistsMonday, January 25th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

There are a lot of tasks that we do as coaches every day, week and year in the office, with our teams, staff, and with recruiting.  In an effort to save time and stress in the office, for any task that you have to do over and over, find a way to automate it by using a checklist.
 
Basically, any time you can set up a system whereby you as a coach can reduce the amount of ‘think time’ you have to spend to complete a task, you will save time and almost guarantee that you will do it right every time.

For example, setting up a successful campus visit potentially can take a lot of time because there are a lot of details involved.  

As a reader of Dan Tudor’s blogs or if you have read his book How To Have Freaking Awesome Campus Visits, you know that you need to plan every possible area of your visit and your interaction with your recruits because they are watching your every move, and making judgment calls along the way as to whether or not to buy what you’re selling. On-campus visits are a pretty big deal, are a lot of work to set up, and can make or break your recruiting efforts.  

An easy way to reduce the time it takes to schedule the visit and make sure that everything gets taken care of is to invest a few hours creating a streamlined procedure and have everything documented on an on-campus visit checklist.

The reason why checklists are good is simple: it’s easy for us to forget things. When you do something that involves multiple steps, it’s likely that you would forget one or two of them. Using checklists ensures that you won’t forget anything.

Checklist are crucial especially if you have had turnover on your coaching staff or in case the coach who usually organizes the campus visit is not around for whatever reason.

Besides helping you do your tasks correctly every time, here are some other benefits of using a checklist:

  • Creating a checklist will allow you to take the thinking out of repetitive tasks.  Since you don’t have to remember all the steps you need to take, you can use your brain power for something else.
  • You can save time.  When you have to think, remember, weigh your options, and agonize over every small task, it takes a lot of time, not to mention mental energy.  But when you make decisions in advance, you free up time to focus on other important activities that need to get done.
  • You can delegate more easily.  If your recruiting coordinator is out recruiting, is ill, takes another job, or whatever, you don’t have to rush around trying to figure out what to do because every step for setting up a perfect on-campus visit is already outlined and recorded down on your on-campus visit checklist.

Start by writing down the steps you take when planning a visit from the start to the end of the visit. What tasks need to be done?  Who is responsible for doing each task?  When do tasks need to be done by?  What is the phone number and email of the people you would want the recruits to meet with?  What paperwork do you need completed by the recruits?  What compliance paperwork needs to be done?  I could go on and on but you get the idea.
   
Taking the time to map out each step in the process and document all of the important details will take a lot of work the first time you do it.  But because these will be steps you need to take every time you have an on-campus visit, by following a checklist you will save a TON of time in the long run and no important details will be forgotten.   

Off the top of my head, here are four other things that you might want to create a checklist for:

  • Running a successful practice
  • Game-day routines
  • Travel procedures
  • Camp Procedures

I urge you to evaluate all tasks that you do on a repetitive, routine basis to see if you can dream up ways to do them faster and better.  Take the time to create a checklist for all of these repetitive tasks and record all of the details involved.  You will be amazed at how much time and mental energy you will save when you are working off a checklist instead of trying to accomplish a task off of memory.    

If you have a great idea that you want to share, please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com.

Have a great week!

Mandy Green
Coaching Productivity Strategies

Two Critical Time Management Mistakes Coaches MakeMonday, January 4th, 2016

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

First, I want to thank all of the coaches who have gotten on the phone with me in the last 2 weeks to do a free productivity consultation! I loved every minute of every call! I will extend my offer 1 more week.  I want to help you set up your most productive and least chaotic coaching year yet and would love an opportunity to get on the phone with you. Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com to set up an appointment.

Coach, have you ever come back from lunch, checked your email, fiddled around on the web, and realized that two or three hours had just slipped away from you?   Every day, so many coaches engage themselves in activities that are not relevant to their goals, recruiting, or their vision for their program. These coaches waste an enormous amount of time every day and they aren’t even aware that they are doing it.

Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and best-selling author, says most people can waste up to one and a half hours per day because of time-management mistakes. That’s seven and a half hours per week… almost an entire work day!  It’s not a solid block of an hour and a half, but a minute here and a minute there, like a leaky hot water faucet…drip, drip, drip…it doesn’t seem like a major loss, but at the end the day, we’re dumping gallons of hot water down the drain.

The simple truth is that if you could just avoid or properly manage these 2 time-wasters I talk about below, you would be free to accomplish your goals and grow your program in profound ways.

I will talk about 2 time wasters here but obviously there are a ton more that I talk about in my Green Time Management workbook for College Coaches. Each one has the potential to really eat your time and heighten your stress levels. Even if you’re doing O.K. with one of the two areas I’m going to talk about, that one area you’re failing at can short-circuit your entire day.

1.Multi-Tasking

 

Every coach likes to think they’re great at multi-tasking, and some of them actually do ok. But there is a limit to how many things you can do at once without taking away from the quality of your work…and it almost always greatly increases the time it takes to finish each project. Experts estimate that the tendency to start and stop a task, to pick it up, put it down and come back to it can increase the time necessary to complete the task by as much as 500%. That means that a task that should take 10 minutes to complete now takes almost an hour.

That’s why it is very important to absorb yourself with one thing at a time. Give that task your full attention and complete it before moving on to the next thing. By concentrating single-mindedly on your most important task, you can reduce the time required to complete it by 50% or more. Do your most important task first. Do it until it’s completed. Then, and only then, move on to the next most important task.

2. Meetings

 

We have all been in meetings that don’t start on time, seem to have no purpose, are way too long, or don’t end when they should. Those terrible meetings should tell you something about how your meetings should go.

First: Have a purpose and stick only to that purpose.

Second: Your meeting should start on time.

Third: Your meeting should have a time limit

Fourth: Your meeting should end on time.

To sum up, if you say you are going to have a meeting from 11:30 to 12:00 to discuss the practice for the day, you better start your meeting at 11:30, it better be about the practice for the day and nothing else, and it better be over by 12:00.

No matter what sport you coach, time is valuable and work is interconnected. If you fail to start meetings on time or fail to meet commitments, you affect the work of the rest of your staff. Schedule blocks of time for each item to be discussed and then keep track of the time. Always keep commitments, and if you can’t, make sure all staff members involved are updated.

The key point here with both of these time wasters is to STAY FOCUSED That’s all that really matters. Refuse to let other things distract you from the task at hand and you can triple your productivity in the office. It may be difficult at first but the more you practice it, the easier it will get.

Mandy Green has been a College Soccer Coach for more than 17 years and is the founder of Coaching Productivity Strategies, where she helps coaches develop and discipline their time management. Mandy teaches practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that will make your coaching and recruiting life much less chaotic. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. To get more awesome collegiate-specific productivity expertise, go to www.mandygreencps.com and opt-in. 

 

“Do-Not-Do” ListsMonday, December 28th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

We all have a tremendous amount to do these days.  Between recruiting, managing and training the team, office stuff, meetings, camps, etc, our to-do lists are getting longer and more out of control.

If you are one of the many coaches out there who is overwhelmed trying to get everything done, I want to help you regain control over your workload by helping you make better choices.  Since we only have so much time to get things done, you need to CHOOSE what gets done and what doesn’t get done. You must consciously choose what you will work on based on how it will affect your program and the results you want to produce and you need to delay or eliminate other less important items from your schedule. You can’t find more time, but you can always change the way you use the time you already have.

Many productivity and time-management experts say the most helpful list you may ever create is one outlining what not to do. “Do-not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance in the office.  

The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

The idea is to list all the activities you are intentionally going to stop doing for the sake of greater productivity.  This is a list of activities that are time-wasters, your list of people not to talk to because they’re time vampires, your do-not-eat list, your not-to-have-in the office list, etc.

In his best-seller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, Jim Collins lauds the value of a “stop-doing” list: “Those who built the good-to-great companies… made as much use of stop-doing lists as to-do lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”

I believe that there are 2 ways to figure out what should go on your do-not-do-list.

  1. The first step in deciding what not to do in your life is zeroing in on what you ultimately want to achieve. “If you really get clear about your real goals, visions and values, it will be easier to cut the extraneous things off your lists that aren’t that purposeful for you,” says David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.
  2. The second way to figure out what not-to-do is to time track.  Write down on the left hand side of a piece of paper the day’s times in 15-minute increments. As your day goes along, write down what you’re doing at that time all day long so you can identify things that you may be wasting too much time on in the office. By taking a realistic look at how you spend your time, you can determine which activities don’t yield valuable results in return for the time and effort they require. Then, you can cut those time-wasters out of your life.

Here are a few examples of things that could be on your do-not-do list.

Do not check facebook during work hours

Do not check email constantly

Do not multitask when I am working on recruiting

Do not get sucked in by office gossip

 Seeing through on your do-not-do list ultimately may take sheer force of will. Like everything, you will get better with practice.  Jim Collins writes, “The real question is… do you have the discipline to do the right thing and, equally important, to stop doing the wrong things?”

 When you get stuck on your not-to-do list, you waste time and end the day frustrated because you didn’t get anything done.  Make your list and post it where you can always see it to remind yourself of what you should not be doing.  Enlist the support of co-workers to help keep you on track.  If you find yourself doing something on your do-not-do list, get up, walk around, refocus, and then get back after your important to-do list items.  Good luck!

I’d love to hear what makes your list!  Please email me your list at mandy@mandygreencps.com

As a thank you for reading, I want to offer you a free 15-minute productivity consultation with me! I want to help you set up your most productive and least chaotic coaching year yet. Email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com to set up an appointment. Mandy Green has been a College Soccer Coach for more than 17 years and is the founder of Coaching Productivity Strategies, where she helps coaches develop and discipline their time management. Mandy teaches practical and immediately usable ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that will make your coaching and recruiting life much less chaotic. When you learn and apply these powerful, practical techniques, you will dramatically improve the quality of your life in every area. To get more awesome collegiate-specific productivity expertise, go to www.mandygreencps.com and opt-in. 

Set Up Your Assistants To Be SuccessfulMonday, December 14th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

A few weekends ago, I spoke at the NCRC about email management. I had a lot of coaches come up to me afterwards and say that one of the biggest points they took away is how they can help their assistants be more productive during the day.

To be blunt, most assistants are at the mercy of doing what their head coaches need them to do. For the most part, when an email gets sent, or they stop by because something needs to get done, it is expected (depending on the coach) that the assistant stops what they are doing, and gets after what the head coach needs done immediately.

And if you’re like most assistant coaches, not only do you have to deal with the head coach, you get a dozen other little interruptions every hour; new emails pertaining to other responsibilities you have coming in, phone calls, text messages, etc. If you do the math for these poor assistants, they literally can’t focus on one thing for more than 5 minutes.

There is just no way that a head coach can expect their assistants to get everything they are expected to do done, when they are constantly being interrupted.

Many assistants will speak up if they need a faster computer, or a better software system, or for other “hardware” things like that. But what coaches have told me, especially young assistants, is that they are not comfortable sitting down and telling their boss that they need more quiet time to work, or they are having a hard time working because they are constantly getting interrupted, or that they hate when you accumulate a week’s worth of recruiting emails at a time and then forward a them all at once, etc.

Today I want to talk to you about 4 different changes you can make to help your staff be more productive.

Process ALL of your email every day

The point for coaches I made at the conference was that you should try to get to zero emails in your inbox every day. That means that you have to process every email that comes through your inbox by forwarding it, responding to it, filing it, deleting it, or deferring it. It is distracting and unproductive to have a lot of unread emails cluttering up your inbox. Plus you waste a lot of time reading the same emails over and over again.

How to help your assistants: when a head coach “saves up” over the course of the week and then sends all recruiting emails at once to the recruiting coordinator, according to the coaches I have interviewed about how they deal with their email, it is very overwhelming. Instead of sending 40 recruiting emails all at once, process your email everyday so you can send all recruiting emails in smaller more manageable chunks.

Establish set times for checking email 

The point for coaches I made at the conference is that instead of checking your email as the notifications come up every few minutes, set aside specific chunks of time each day that you dedicate to checking and responding to email. For example, you could check it for 30-minutes in the morning, for 30 minutes right after lunch, and then another 30 at the end of the day. You’ll be amazed how much email you’ll be able to process and answer when you’re solely focused on the task.

How to help your assistants-If you are only checking email two or three times during the day, you eliminate the need to ping your assistants with new messages every 5 minutes. By doing this, you are giving your assistants larger chunks of uninterrupted time to get more work done.

I got this great email from a coach after the conference about this point.

Thanks for this! While I generally think I tackle my inbox pretty well and don’t get overwhelmed I pulled some great tips for myself in regards to limiting the “rolling email forward chain” that I was doing to my assistants for recruits and now limit it to morning forward chunk and after lunch forward chunk, which they have already said THANK YOU! to and it’s only been one day!!

 – Elizabeth Robertshaw, Boston University Lacrosse

Are you allowing your assistants time to concentrate? Are you guilty of always stopping by for impromptu conversations rather than scheduling regular one-on-ones? Have you discouraged your staff from blocking off quiet work periods on their calendars, telling them instead to be accessible to each other at all times? If so, you might be impeding your staff’s productivity. While coaches you work with of course need to be accessible and you don’t want to ban spontaneous conversations, coaching is a profession I believe where you need to balance that against your assistants’ need to focus. If you’re constantly interrupting their workflow or insisting that others be allowed to, their inability to deeply focus will be reflected in your team’s output.

Ask your staff what they need to do their jobs better

You might think that you already know what your team’s needs are – but you might be surprised by what you’d find out if you asked.

The best meeting you may ever have with your staff is when you just sit and listen to what your staff needs. Think 80/20. Head coach ask questions and talks only 20% of the time, assistant coaches will run the conversation and talk 80% of the time.

I am working with a few programs right now and actually was there and sat everybody down to work through this. Holy cow was this eye opening for the head coach. This meeting started slow because the assistants were shy about speaking out, but once they got going and were able to finally share what they needed to be more productive with their head coach, the meetings went really well. Everybody left excited because they felt like they were going to be able to get more work done and even possibly shorten their work day.

 

Your Ultimate Weapon for a Year of Recruiting, Coaching Growth, and AchievementMonday, November 30th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Coaching Productivity Strategies

As fall sports are wrapping up, how has this year been going for you so far? Are you getting the recruits you want? Is your team progressing and as successful as you want it to be? How is your health and energy? Is your staff firing on all cylinders?

If you are not where you want to be, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. Most coaches I’d say are not where they want to be at this point in the year.

So, let’s fix it!

I want to share with you what has become my ultimate weapon. This very powerful tool is something we all have access to every single day and yet most people never even use it, or are not using it in the right way.

So what is this great personal development tool that can guide our yearly, monthly, and daily actions and could be the key to having your best year of growth and accomplishment for you individually and for your program?

It is your calendar.

How do you currently use your calendar? Whether your use paper or a computer calendar, do you use it just to record your to-do list busy work like go to a game here, recruiting call there, pick up groceries, etc.

Or do you use your calendar to think bigger picture? If you are not doing so already, I want you to use the strategic 12 months that we are all given every year to grow and develop into a better coach, a better recruiter, a better leader, get healthier, etc. Bottom line, to achieve the next level of achievement for us individually and with our programs, we need to use our calendars more strategically.

I learned how to set up my calendar this way from Brendon Burchard, who is one of the best personal development trainers out there. In the training I did with him, he had me think about 5 different areas of my life where I could have significant growth and then strategically map out the next 12 months of my life. Those 5 areas were in skill development, health, fun, relationships, and joy.

I am more than willing to share how I did this in all 5 areas, but for now, this is how I took this training and applied to what we do as coaches in the area of skill development.

My Goal: Be a better recruiter.

Ultimate Outcome: I was low on staff, budget, and time. I was annoyed and frustrated that every task pertaining to recruiting was taking so long so decided to solve my own problem and come up with a solution. I wanted to have set up a better recruiting system for my staff and I by the end of the year. I set out to find a way to do each recruiting task more efficiently and done in a way so it could get broken down, analyzed, and improved upon to produce good predictable results.

This was the plan I created for skill acquisition:

January: Map out a year-long communication/recruiting plan

February: Write faster and more compelling messages

March: Subject lines that get opened

April: Exercise, nutrition, sleep, and water

May: Manage my time and focus

June: Close the sale

July: Track our recruiting and team results

August: Standard operating procedures for my staff and myself written down

September: Automate or execute repetitive tasks

October: Save time and money with recruiting travel

November: Learn how to speak on the phone and in person better with recruits and their parents

December: Create a better way to manage my email.

The most critical part of executing this plan was that I scheduled it into my calendar. I time blocked 55 minutes of my day into my Game Changing Results Action Plan. I set my stopwatch and then I focused on nothing else but acquiring this skill to become a better recruiter. At the end of the 55 minutes, I took the last 5 minutes of the hour to get up out of my chair and did something physical so I could clear my head, refocus, and get my energy back up.

At the end of each month, I didn’t always completely master the topic, but I learned a heck of a lot and knew that I was getting better. At the end of the year, I was able to come up with a better recruiting system that was a lot of work to set up, but in the long run I am saving so much time and energy. I can measure and track results. We can smoothly transition if a new coach comes on board because we have a standard operating procedure for our recruiting tasks. I have checklists to reduce the time it takes us to do things and now nothing gets forgotten.

Utilize your calendar better this year by mapping out a 12 month skill development plan that will push and challenge yourself. Every single month set a monthly personal development challenge for yourself. Every 30 days make yourself a personal challenge to become a better person, coach, friend, or leader. At the end of the month you can look to see how well you did.

If you are interested in seeing a page of my daily planning system, email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com. Also, let me know if you would be interested in seeing the recruiting system that I created for myself? I am working on creating one place that you can have access to that will have all of my checklists, my best subject lines, and all of the systems that I have created.

Keeping Yourself In The GameMonday, February 16th, 2015

by Mandy Green, Head Women’s Soccer Coach at The University of South Dakota

We all know that recruiting is a 365 day-a-year-beast.  You could easily spend 40+ hours a week just watching practices, making recruiting phone calls, sending texts, emailing, on-campus visits, watching video, having staff meetings, etc.  On top of your recruiting responsibilities, you also have to manage, train, and develop your current team.  Some of you also have to teach classes or have additional administrative responsibilities.  It’s a lot.

The demand for our time as a coach is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night.

Just like our athletes, with overtraining and overworking we wear down, burnout, and become ineffective. The reality is that we will become flat liners mentally and emotionally when we relentlessly spend energy without sufficient recovery.  Unless we incorporate more rest and recovery into our work regimen, we will slowly wear down and become ineffective as coaches and as recruiters.

Sadly, the need for recovery is often viewed as a sign of weakness rather than an integral aspect of growth and sustained performance in our society. As coaches, our entrenched, puritanical conditioning of being valued on how hard we work, our fear of being left behind or replaced, and our addiction to always being busy are actually not only destroying our mental and physical health but also destroying our creative productivity.

To avoid burning out and to prolong your life as a coach, you need to add more rest and recovery into your workday.  To consistently produce high quality work and get the results you need daily, all throughout the week, and throughout the year, I highly suggest you find a way to implement taking time off into your productivity strategy.

Here are 3 things I did to incorporate “rejuvenation time” into my schedule.

Reframing

Since I was struggling to take time off, I first had to get over my belief that: working = good and not working = slacker.  I just made a conscious effort to think positively of this time that I was taking off and kept telling myself that this was “rejuvenation time”. I kept telling myself that this time away from coaching and recruiting was going to refresh my mind and body which in turn was going to make me a better coach and recruiter.

Office Renewal: Take mini-breaks

Small, frequent breaks are a great way to refresh and recharge.  It’s been proven in many studies that workers who take short 10-15 minute breaks every 90 minutes report a 30 percent higher level of focus than those who take no breaks or just one during the day. They also report a nearly 50 percent greater capacity to think creatively and a 46 percent higher level of health and well-being. The more hours people work beyond 40 — and the more continuously they work — the worse they feel, and the less engaged they become.

Sitting at your computer for long periods will lead to sleepiness and sluggishness, so get up periodically, stretch, take deep breaths, and move around. I recommend setting a timer that goes off every 60-90 minutes.  Every time the timer rings, stand up before you turn it off. And once you are standing, get moving. Get up to go to the bathroom, go refill your water bottle, take a quick lap around the building, plan to run an errand or 2 during this time, get up to stretch your leg and back, or walk around and talk to your coaching colleagues for a moments…just do something that refreshes you for just a few minutes.  You will be amazed at how much more energy and focus you have just by taking a few short mini-breaks throughout the day.

By taking 5-10 minute short breaks every 60-90 minutes throughout the day, I have noticed that I am not getting as tired at the end of the day as I used to and I still have energy when I get home.  I am working less hours but getting more done and it is much higher quality than I have ever done before.

At Home Renewal: Plan 2 hours of free time EVERY NIGHT!
When you get home from the office, schedule 2 hours where your phone is in another room, you put work away, and you take yourself off of the coaching and recruiting grid to recharge.

I suggest planning something fun that will engage your heart and mind so you are not bored and tempted to get sucked back into your working addiction. Plan fun things to do with your family or friends. Workout. Go for a walk outside.  Read a book. Watch a movie. Go play golf. Or whatever it is that you deem your recovery time.

When I started scheduling 2 hours every night that I couldn’t work, I found myself working more urgently during the day to get things finished up. I also quickly found that by resting my mind and body daily, that when it was time to get back to work, I was more energized and focused so was able to produce higher quality work.

I think that a big key to not burning out as a coach is to not let burnout sneak up on you.  Schedule regular short breaks during the day and get off the grid for 2 hours every night will help to make sure that won’t happen.

I have been pretty religious about doing these things for more than a year now.  I had to do it because I was exhausted.  Honestly, with the massive amount of work I had to take on taking over the program I did with only 2 part-time assistants, and having 2 kids within my first two years, I was pretty overwhelmed.  Adding more time for energy and mental renewal has kept me coaching.  I have more ideas for other things that you can do for mental and physical renewal on my website at www.mandygreencps.com.

Can I have 60 Seconds of your time?  Please click here to take the College Coach Productivity Survey.  To thank you for helping me out, I will email you my 11 Time Management Mistakes That College Coaches Make Free Report!  I really appreciate your help.

Mandy Green is the creator of Coaching Productivity Strategies and is the author of The Green Time Management Workbook and Planner for College Coaches, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your day with research of proven time and energy management methods that you can apply in your career, to recruiting, and to your personal life. For more advice on how to manage and organize your day and recruiting, please visit www.mandygreencps.com.

Create The Ideal Work EnvironmentSaturday, May 31st, 2014

by Mandy Green, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, The University of South Dakota

You know the phrase “being in the zone”?  It is mostly used for athletes to describe the optimal state of consciousness where they feel and preform at their best.  From the research I have done, I found getting into “the zone” isn’t just for athletes and is arguably the most perfect state to work from.

Have you had the experience where one minute you’ve finished lunch, started to work on a project and the next minute it’s 7 pm and you have no idea where the time went? It is the mental state where we are so focused and engaged with what we are doing, we produce our greatest results and peak performance happens.

Unfortunately, most coaches have a hard time getting there because they are so distracted by the emails coming in, social media, and all of the interruptions they get.

I know I can’t just show up and expect it to happen.  It certainly isn’t going to happen if I am jumping from one task to the next every 3 minutes because I am so easily distracted.   Ultimately, there is a way to get a lot of work done in a shorter amount of time, but to do it, I need to be intentional and strategic about creating an environment where I can create total focus, void of distractions.

I’m going to recommend some ways you can get in the work zone to get more quality work done faster and stay there for as long as possible.  As I am going through this, think about your ideal work set up, and if there is maybe something you can change.

When Is My Energy Best?

Emails to my top recruits get done first and are worked on in the morning during a time when I have found my energy and focus are really good. I also get interrupted the least.

Get Up And Move

Before I sit down to write, I get up and move around a little just to get the blood flowing.  I go to the bathroom or run some errands or whatever.  I find that not only does this give me a little jolt of energy, I also have a lot of creative thoughts pop in my head while I am up moving and away from my desk.

Get Everything I Need First

I try and make sure I have all the info I need in one folder. I make sure I have water and my hot chocolate/coffee drink.

Listen To Music

Before I get started, I turn on some music. I have found that for me I get more creative and get into an email flow better when I have music playing in the background versus when it is quiet.

Location

I get my best work done either in my office early in the morning or at home after I have dropped the kids off at daycare.

Eliminate Distractions

I schedule a set hour or hour and a half almost every day to do nothing but recruiting emails.  I shut my door so I don’t get interrupted.  I turn off my auto indicator on Outlook so I am not distracted by new emails coming in. I don’t stop to do other tasks that I remember to do (I write them down on my Master to To-Do list so I get it out of my head but don’t forget to do it), and I turn down the volume on my phone so I don’t hear when a new text message or phone call may come in.  Recruiting emails, that’s it.

I try to eliminate as many distractions as I can so I can concentrate all my attention on exactly one thing and one thing only. To reach the state of flow at work you need to be totally focused at your task and not distracted every 3 minutes.

Getting to the point where I am even doing all of this has taken me a few years’ worth of trial and error.  The set-up doesn’t take me long anymore because I have been gotten into the habit now.  Each step individually helped save some time here and there.  When I do all of these things at once, it is like recruiting email nirvana.   I love it.  I spend a lot less time on my email but I can get so many more emails out.  I am more in control of the recruiting process.  I am not as overwhelmed anymore.  Of course, I still have bad days with it.  But adding more structure to the set-up process of doing recruiting emails has saved a lot of time for me.

Mandy Green has a Coaching Productivity Newsletter that goes out every other Sunday.  This newsletter is for coaches who have an email overload issue.  She shares methods or techniques that she is trying in an effort to process, manage, and keep track of recruiting emails better.  If you are interested in joining in on the conversation or if you have something to share please go to www.mandygreencps.com.  Opt in and she will send you her newsletter every week it goes out and you can get a FREE copy of the chapter in her Green Time Management For Coaches Workbook called Organize Your Recruiting.  

If Nothing Else, This Has To Get Done!Thursday, May 15th, 2014

by Mandy Green, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, The University of South Dakota

What is it for you coach?  What is it that no matter what else gets done, as long as these one or two things are finished by the time you leave the office, you are feeling pretty good about your day?

I thought I knew what it was for me.

Being that I read, write, and talk to people about time management regularly, I certainly have a general idea which few activities for me were the ones I knew needed to get done.

Then, about a week ago, I went home feeling uneasy and stressed.  I started to reflect on what happened during the day and what maybe didn’t get done that was causing me to feel this way.

That day I had to readjust my schedule of To-Dos because a few student-athlete meetings lasted longer than planned.  When I got home, I took out my Green Time Management Planner and looked back over my day.  I had finished the majority of things on my To-Do list, but there were still one or two things pushed aside.  Reflecting back on my day helped give me some insight as to what was causing me to be stressed, but I needed to look more into it.

The next day was just as crazy as the day before, but I went home feeling okay with what I accomplished during the day.  Did I get everything done on my To-Do list, no, but I did get a few of the things done that I hadn’t gotten done the day before.  I again sat down and looked at what was finished and what was pushed aside during the day.

I ended up experimenting for a few days, monitoring what I had completed and what I left for the next day to do, while really paying attention to how I felt when I got home that night.

What I found is, for me, I feel good leaving the office as long as I have sent my recruiting emails out and had a chance to plan and prepare practice for the following day.

The development and future success of my program is obviously dependent on my ability to consistently communicate with recruits.  The success of my current team depends on preparing and executing challenging practices so we can keep getting better.  When I make sure to get these two things finished before I leave for the day, I feel assured knowing I still have time to review my practice plan the night before and make adjustments if necessary.  As a result, I walk into practice feeling more prepared.   I also love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I know I have taken another step forward with the recruits we are trying to get.

When these two things don’t get done at work however, I have to do them at home.  These things have to get done.  What causes me the most stress is not only does this take away time with my kids, but I feel they don’t get done as well as I would like them to be.  I feel like my recruiting emails are not as clear and concise and my practice plans aren’t as well thought out as they could and should be since I have a 4 and 1 year old also competing for my attention.

To avoid feeling stressed out, it took three or four days of analyzing what I did and didn’t do, as well as assessing the feelings that followed for it to really hit home with me which tasks absolutely had to be done before I left the office.

I now try to do my most important activities first thing in the morning, when I get done with practice (we practice from 6-8 am).  I found if I put them off until later, I get busy and run out of time to do them.

So coach, what are your most important activities?  What are the one or two tasks that you know if you get done, even if you don’t get everything done, you can leave the office and feel good about what you’ve accomplished for day?

If you are not sure, do what I did.  At the end of the day, review your To-Do list and see what got done and what didn’t get done.  How are you feeling when you get home?  Once you have your data, analyze what could be causing you to feel this way.  Then try to restructure your day to make sure you are getting your most important tasks done.

I would love to hear what they are?  Please email me at mandy@mandygreencps.com and put “My MIT’s” (Most Important Tasks) in the subject line.

Mandy Green has a Coaching Productivity Newsletter that goes out every other Sunday.  This newsletter is for coaches who have an email overload issue.  She shares methods or techniques that she is trying in an effort to process, manage, and keep track of recruiting emails better.  If you are interested in joining in on the conversation or if you have something to share please go to www.mandygreencps.com.  Opt in and she will send you her newsletter every week it goes out and you can get a FREE copy of the chapter in her Green Time Management For Coaches Workbook called Organize Your Recruiting.  

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